Second Ao Yun vintage sets standard for China wine


When LVHM-owned China winery Ao Yun announced its 2013 vintage last year – its first ever – the wine industry sat up and took notice. Its newly released 2014 vintage scales further heights by solidifying the winery’s pedigree to put the country’s Yunnan province on the wine world’s map.

The story of Ao Yun started back in 2008. China already was making quite a bit of wine – from grapes, not that firewater made from grain better known as baijiu (白酒) – in its provinces of Ningxia and Xinjiang. But most of that production was middling in quality at best; LVMH wanted to know if they could create a world-class wine that could rival the best in the world and set out in search of a region in China with the ideal terroir for such a purpose.

They would literally find such a place in paradise. Ao Yun was established at the foothills of the Himalayas, in the UNESCO World Heritage region between the Yangtze, Mekong and Salween rivers. And despite the mounting difficulties – logistic challenges, power failures, and difficulty in securing the right talent – Ao Yun released its first vintage last year.

This time round things were looking up. Estate Manager and winemaker Maxence Dulou, previously of Chateau Cheval Blanc, shares that the newest vintage represents a ‘breakthrough in quality Chinese winemaking’. “The Ao Yun 2014 comes a lot closer to our vision of making the best red wine in China,” says Dulou.

“It shows more complexity than 2013 due to better climate conditions during the growing season and vineyard management optimisation. I’m very pleased with the result,” he shares, adding that it took some 300 local farmers from three different villages to cultivate the vineyard organically and totally by hand.

A blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc, the 2014 Vintage is intense and deep dark in colour, demonstrating a multi layer identity with hints of cinnamon coupled with the freshness of mint and earthy tones. On the palate, the wine is dry, medium to full bodied offering a long and polished tannic structure. This wine will do very well upon some years of careful cellaring.

Ao Yun’s 2014 Vintage is available to buy through Moët Hennessy Diageo Singapore’s direct sales channel. Interested buyers can contact Moët Hennessy Diageo Private Client Manager Clementine Wee at clementine.wee@mhdsg.com. Price is upon asking.